A Christmas poem twinkles across the screen letting us know it’s almost time for the holiday season to begin. All we need is the twist of a key. A dapper gentleman in a top hat and tails walks across the stage towards a large, person-sized, locked glass box. He slips his hands into white gloves and holds up a key. But something stops our Guardian of Time. He sits down dejectedly and looks forlornly at the key.
Four ladies dressed in festive red velvet dresses appear from the wings with feathered fans. They surround the box providing cover over it. They pull their fans away, and suddenly, another woman appears in the box as if by magic! She steps out wearing a glittery pink gown and turns the key herself setting off a chain of events that have us spiraling through time and space. Here in A Magical Cirque Christmas, we’re about to go on a magical journey with a couple stops along the way.
Broadway in Chicago Hosts A Holiday Circus
With the key malfunctioning, we’re cast into a time warp and spiral through time stopping at different periods throughout history.
We pop by the rockabilly 50’s where girls in poodle skirts jam out by the jukebox. A strong man and woman (Itzel Salvatierra and Scott Cooper) step out and perform a series of lifts, tosses, and acrobatics at high speed.
In 2013, aerialists Nicky Faubert and Olivier Belzile spin high above us while singer Audri Bartholomew serenades us with a cover of Kelly Clarkson’s Underneath the Tree.
It feels like it wasn’t that long ago that All I Want For Christmas topped the charts, but here in 1994 our heart rates rise as Jonathan Rinney does a progressively more difficult bicycle unicycle routine.
Back in the disco era, Aryn Shelander contorts herself high on a platform. If that isn’t impressive enough, our eyes open in disbelief as she turns herself upside down to shoot a bow and arrow with her feet!
Every act seems to be more energetic and heart stopping than the last — from more aerialists spinning from hoops, to jugglers matching every beat, and even a looping cyr wheel performer. Even though we’re trying to fix time and get us back to the presentyou too might feel like we don’t want to as we could continue watching this talented troupe forever.
The Hostess With the Mostess
To connect our groups together, we laugh alongside the hostess for the evening as she tries to fix this infinite mess. From the moment she stepped out of the glass box, Carisa Hendrix has our rapt attention. She pulls out the charm as she joshes Josh in the front row throughout the show. She dazzles us as she changes from glittering gown to glittery gown. And of course, her job wouldn’t be complete until she performs a few tricks of her own from making bottles of whiskey appear to levitating a helpful young girl from the audience. In this writer's opinion, she masterfully keeps us engaged with her improv skills and storytelling ability.
End With Holiday Cheer
Of course, we have a stirring happy ending with another show buster from Bartholomew singing Believe as the cast gathers together for one grand finale bow.
A Magical Cirque Holiday is a top pick for those who are looking for an energetic and high spirited holiday show that’s family friendly but also fit for a fun adults night out, Holiday would be a good fit for you!
Thru December 11, 2022
Sunday- 2 PM
Tuesday- 7:30 PM
Wednesday- 2 and 7:30 PM
Thursday- 7:30 PM
Friday- 7:30 PM
Saturday- 2 and 8 PM
18 W. Monroe St.
About the Author: Alexis Bugajski
Alexis is a theater reviewer, travel bug, media specialist, and burger & beer enthusiast. During the day she works in the advertising business as a senior communications designer. When night falls, or when she can escape to New York, she’s hitting the theaters to see as many shows as she can. And whenever she’s not at her desk or in the audience, she’s out seeking the best burger and beer offerings in Chicago.
Editor's Note: Click here to read more Picture this Post articles by Alexis Bugajski